I have a confession. I say it slowly and slyly, and with great pains:

I am unemployed.

It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s not because I’m not qualified. It’s probably not even because of the economy.

Perhaps you understand why I’m so quick to jump to explanations, as if one can be truly defined by their job status. Or perhaps you’ve been there, or fear being there, or are standing with me in the thick of it.

Regardless of your age or previous standing in the workplace, I’ve discovered that being unemployed is a marvelous opportunity for establishing your self-image! Honestly, I’m learning more about myself in this time of searches, applications, interviews, hopes, and rejections than I did when I was employed.

For the first time since college (which, admittedly, wasn’t too long ago), I have the time to invest. Invest in others, in myself, in my community. I have the time to write, to dream, to make plans, to enjoy.

Is it simultaneously stressful and unknown and a little bit scary? You bet.

Do I feel the pressure to “hurry up already” and get myself established as a working professional in this world? Absolutely.

But in reflecting on all I’ve learned about myself in the past few months, I think I’m starting to understand the bigger lesson God’s teaching me. It has to do with patience, with perfect timing, and with trust in Him. It also has to do with discovering more about the me He created.

  1. I’ve learned invaluable interview skills.
  2. I’ve learned how to network for opportunities instead of relying only the Internet.
  3. I’ve learned what kinds of work and workplaces I’m passionate about.
  4. I’ve learned which jobs and industries I definitely don’t want to go into!
  5. I’ve learned how to receive constructive criticism & rejections and grow from it.
  6. Most importantly though, I’m learning that I will do what I have to do today so that one day I can do what I want to do. Even if that’s a job that doesn’t make me feel like I’m making a measurable contribution to society, God can and will use your current situation to grow you, stretch you, and use you for His divine purposes.

God uses every moment of our lives to teach us something, so don’t underestimate this time of unemployment. God might be using it to show you something about yourself, your priorities, or your future goals. Remember: He works all things together for good! (Romans 8:28)

Ask yourself tough questions. Make some discoveries. Expand your network and go on every interview. (My dad always told me each NO is one NO closer to that YES.)

If you know someone who is job-searching, support them in prayer, help them make some personal discoveries, and give them space to grow.

My mom always told me to bloom where I’m planted. So I’m blooming right here, right now. It’s a little painful at times. I’m not employed yet, but blooming nonetheless. Bloom with me.